Forest of Dean DC crowned Public Protection champions of 2012
At a gala evening hosted by the BBC’s political editor, Nick Robinson, the environmental services team at Forest of Dean District Council was recently declared winner of the Public Protection Achievement category in The 2012 MJ Awards.
The MJ Public Protection Achievement Award, jointly sponsored by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), is an opportunity for councils to showcase the best work being carried out by regulatory services and to highlight innovative examples of good practice.
The winning entry from Forest of Dean featured its pioneering work with the police to combat metal theft. The environmental services team has set up a partnership with the police taking a unique ground-breaking approach to scrapyard regulation. The project works with and supports local scrapyard businesses to achieve self-regulation and a level playing field between operators, securing voluntary regulatory agreements. These include CCTV installation and a ‘No ID = No Cash’ system.
It was clear to the team that success at a local level could result in displacement of criminal activity to neighbouring regions so in June 2011 the team led the creation of a wider partnership and hosted a meeting that brought together council and policing colleagues from surrounding areas to share good practice and encourage uptake of the innovative approach. While metal thefts continue to rise on a national level, they have reduced in the Forest of Dean.
Cllr Martin Quaile, Forest of Dean cabinet member for the environment said: “It’s wonderful to see the hard work and creativity of this council being acclaimed for leading the way nationally. The team’s work has made a significant contribution to the Government’s proposals to tighten up scrap metal regulation. This is making the market more difficult for thieves while ensuring that law abiding people can continue to recycle metal with confidence.”
There was a total of 54 entries in this keenly fought category and the judges, Lord Curry of Kirkhale, Non-Executive Chair, Better Regulation Executive; Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive, TSI; and Graham Jukes, Chief Executive, CIEH were faced with a long and difficult task in deciding the winner.
Ron Gainsford said: “The stretch and variety of the projects was immense and illustrated public protection at its best whether in the protection of vulnerable consumers from rip-off cold callers to supporting small businesses with integrated environmental health and trading standards advice and support.”
“It’s always inspiring to see that local government is full of hard-working, highly competent creative professionals who continue to produce such innovative services for the benefit of their communities in these challenging times,” he said.
The judges also highly commended Chelmsford Borough Council for its innovative use of animal welfare legislation, Luton Borough Council for a pilot project to look at a new way of working with small businesses and Surrey Trading Standards Service for a project to protect the vulnerable from the activities of cold calling home maintenance traders.